Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oil Cleansing: Ancient beauty secret or modern day fad?

Using oil to cleanse your skin is not a new concept, although the concept is regaining a lot of new attention, especially with the overwhelming desire of many to use more gentle and natural products on our skin. I have been using the oil cleansing method (or OCM as many online devotees so lovingly refer to it) for about three weeks. It's hard to tell yet if I love it, but I have promised to give it time to see its full potential.

Our skin, whether we like it or not, is an oil factory. It naturally produces oil (good oil!) that helps to protect and naturally moisturize our face. Unfortunately for some of us, our skin can produce too much oil, mix with bacteria, get clogged in the pore and produce black heads, white heads and acne.

So your skin is oily- strip away all of the oil and you can clear your acne, right? WRONG! So many of us, especially with problematic skin, immediately turn to cleansers that contain super-drying ingredients such as alcohol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and so on. Then, after washing and stripping our skin of all of the dirt and oil, our skin is left feeling dry and irritated, so what do we do? We attempt to re-add the moisture back to our skin with a myriad of moisturizers and lotions. Our skin is thinking, "What the heck?. I'm so confused!" And to make up for lost moisture, your skin produces MORE oil, which is exactly what you were trying to combat from the start. So you wash your face more and it gets drier and... I think you get the picture. It's a vicious skin cycle. One of which many of us, myself included, has found ourselves in at one point or another.

Insert the Oil cleansing method.

For many, especially with trouble skin, the thought of putting oil on the skin sounds like a nightmare- the worst possible idea. But in fact, the science behind it makes sense. Its the idea that like attracts like; as you cleanse your skin with the oil, it attracts the oil and impurities in your skin and as you rinse the oil away, with it goes excess oil without stripping your skin. Over time, using the OCM, so the theory goes, your skin will eliminate clogs and impurities and find its natural balance

Will any oil do?

There are many choices of oils when it comes to the OCM and your choice will often have to do with the type of skin you have. Crunchy Betty has an amazing blog post all about the oil cleansing method and breaks down the different types of oils that are great for various skin types. Almost all uses use a base of castor oil mixed with another (carrier) oil. Do NOT attempt to use castor oil by itself. It's very thick and gloopey and if you use too much of it you can dry out your skin.

What I do:

Every morning and evening I wash my face with a blend of castor oil and jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is a great choice for people with oily/acne prone skin. It is also said that jojoba oil is the oil that is most similar to our own natural oil.

In my hand I mix about 50% castor oil with 50% jojoba (my favourite is from Desert Essence) and apply it to a dampened face. I massage it in my skin, focusing on areas I'm wearing more makeup, for anywhere from one to three minutes. I then take a washcloth damped with very warm washer and gently rub the oil (along with all of my makeup) off my skin. I then rinse with more hot water and rub again with the wash cloth until all of the oil and makeup are off my skin. It is very important that all of the oil is off of your skin, as any residue may cause breakouts. Sometimes if I have a little bit of extra time I will steam my bare face with boiling water before I cleanse to help open up the pores even more. And viola- that's it. A clean, fresh face with no chemicles!

If you feel like your skin is either overly oily, or overly dry, after using the OCM, try playing with the percentage of castor oil to carrier oil. If you find your skin to dry, up the amount of carrier oil, and vice-versa for oily.

After I'm finished cleaning at night, sometimes I like to apply a simple mask of just honey. Honey has natural anti-bacterial properties and is also a natural moisturizer.

The verdict... still yet to be determined. So far I have definately seen improvements in my skin,less clogged pores and more balance. Although only time will tell if I am a life-long oil cleansing convert.

Have you tried the OCM? What were your results?


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